Fashion notes: Indulge in a workwear revamp

The ultimate workwear outfit ticks all the right boxes – it exudes confidence and power, commands attention and is still conservative and dress-code appropriate.

Office hours: A model for Balenciaga flaunts the latest in workwear looks. Catwalking / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

There are many reasons why we don’t dress to our full potential when going to work.

First and foremost, many of us wake up less than an hour before we have to leave the house, and scramble to get dressed, not to mention making our hair and faces presentable.

This doesn’t leave much time for waiting for primer to set before brushing on foundation, let alone for idle brainstorming about what new, unexpected styling to incorporate into our daily looks.

Sure, we may have downtime on the weekends, but let’s be honest – none of us want to spend our precious time off thinking about the coming days at work.

While my ultimate workwear outfit is currently the printed suit (which I have yet to own myself), I realise that it’s difficult to incorporate more than a few of these in a single wardrobe. This type of outfit ticks all the right boxes for me – it exudes confidence and power, commands attention and is still conservative and dress-code appropriate. I would love to stomp around the office in a fabulous floral suit. It can also be broken up and worn as separates. But I’m pretty sure that fewer than half of you would ever consider wearing a printed suit to work – sorry for my lack of faith in your adventurousness.

Worry not – there are tons of other ways to give your office outfits a punch of personality – primarily through ­accessorising.

First, consider investing in some statement footwear. This year, loafers have been given a new twist by brands such as Robert Clergerie and ­Gucci, with slick, backless styles. They’re essentially slip-ons, so they’re comfortable, while maintaining a somewhat professional exterior.

While you’re at it, switch your stilettos for chunky block heels and turn in your kitten heels for slingbacks.

While stereotypically quite matronly, neck scarves can give your look more youth and attitude, when tied the right way. Dress in all-black, all-white or all-grey, for starters. A monotoned look will serve as a suitable canvas to make your scarf pop, without becoming an eyesore. If you’re wearing a collared shirt, tie a silk or chiffon scarf in a loose knot just below the collar. If you have on a boat-neck, meanwhile, or are wearing a top that falls off-the-shoulder, tie the scarf at your neck like a choker.

Another slightly old-school accessory that can uplift your corporate look is the brooch. For an interesting effect, pin one on the lapel of your blazer or on the collar of your blouse (either on one side or right in the middle of the collar with the shirt fully buttoned-up).

When it comes to jewellery, less is more when it comes to the workplace. If you’re a fan of bold, over-the-top accessories, then just stick to one – don’t pile on the blingy cocktail rings while rocking a bejewelled statement necklace at the same time. I have found that pearls and geometrically pleasing shapes work well with work clothes.

In terms of clothing, a few staples will serve as versatile pick-me-ups for your wardrobe. A lightweight midi to maxi vest, for instance, can be thrown over any plain ensemble. Look for lengths that reach somewhere between your mid-thigh to calf, and seek out thick, crisp fabrics that don’t crinkle. Avoid patterns, which may cheapen the overall image, unless they’re subtle pinstripes. And, you should have a well-fitting tapered trouser in your wardrobe – with an elegant high-waist, if you have the figure to flaunt it.